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what to do when you get a no-motion September 23, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition, Economic Downturn.
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The short answer? Grin and bear it, and be happy you’re still employed.

From Urban Dictionary:

1. A promotion without a raise or bonus.

2. During the recession of 2009, employers have embarked on a new trend of giving promotions to employees (e.g. by adding more responsibility to their current position or new job title) but not giving the employee any monetary compensation for it (e.g. no raise, no bonus).

Looks like lots of people got no-motions and are still trying to figure out how to finish everything in one day. (CC-licensed photo by loumurphy)

Looks like lots of people got no-motions and are still trying to figure out how to finish everything in one day. (CC-licensed photo by loumurphy)

This began at CorporateSpeak in early 2009, after employees older than 55 with more than 20 years service were offered the option to take buyouts — one week of pay for every year employed, with insurance ending when the pay ended. Nine out of the ten eligible employees took the buyouts. They included:

Rena from accounting — she was in charge of all the money coming in and going out. Not an accountant or a comptroller; more like a glorified records clerk. But if you needed anything involving money, you went to Rena and she made sure things were done correctly. Andy and Leland both got no-motions to take over Rena’s duties.

Arthur from archives — in this economic climate, we really couldn’t afford someone whose sole job it was to keep track of the decades of archived print, video, photography, audio, and web stuff we’d done. Arthur knew that and took the buyout, which was too bad, because Arthur also coordinated talent appearances — ie, hiring people to pose in photographs or act on video — and that wasn’t part of his job description. It was just something he’d been doing for about ten years because it needed to be done. A combination of Raven, Rick, Marc, and Danny received various no-motions to take over Arthur’s tasks. Raven by far has it worst; she is the final word when it comes to the library, she works an odd shift, she still has to do mockups and photography (what she was hired to do), and when someone can’t find something in the library, she has to figure out where it went.

Dan the receptionist — after 30 years, it was determined that paying a full-time receptionist was no longer necessary. Dan took the buyout. Now Gina has received a no-motion; where Dan worked 8:30 to 5:30 — our regular business hours — Gina works 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Her computer was moved to the front desk, but if she needs to check her files, she has to get someone to cover the front desk so she can go up to her old cubicle and get what she needs. Needless to say her productivity has suffered. Oh, and as for 3:00 to 6:00, we’ve brought in a part-timer, because, you know, that’s a great idea.

But what could Andy, Leland, Raven, Rick, Marc, Danny, and Gina do? Say no? Of course not! Because they need their jobs. They have families to support and bills to pay. They have to eat.

Welcome to the new workplace, where people leave and are halfheartedly replaced by others who don’t have time to do their own jobs, let alone the jobs of others — and woe betide them if they claim overtime for doing what they were told to do.

The worst part of all of this is that it’s not going to change back. Once the economy rights itself and we go from bust to boom, we’re going to be much more careful as a business culture and we’re not going to hire anyone new — not a new archivist, not a new receptionist, not a new money specialist. The seven people above are going to keep doing what they’re doing, and the company as a whole is going to suffer. Just like your company is when it happens to the people around you.

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